Three Horse Racing Stories to Follow This Year

We are half way through 2018 and there have been plenty of great stories in horse racing across the globe. America crowned its 13th Triple Crown winner in Justify (more on him later), Godolphin Racing got back to the top with a win in the Dubai World Cup and the Cheltenham Festival saw its usual mix of guts and glory over fences.

Of course, the year in racing is by no means finished. So, below we try to pick up a couple of threads of the narrative and see what is important to look out for across the rest of the year:

Justify’s Future and Legacy

With stud earnings expected to be in the region of $75-100 million, Justify’s connections can be pretty happy with their future income. The question, however, is what awaits the Triple Crown winner? When will he retire to stud? Bookies have priced him up at 8/11 for the (BetVictor, Sky Bet) Travers Stakes in August. That race somewhat famously tripped up this century’s only other Triple Crown winner, American Pharaoh, so winning would put Justify even higher on the pantheon of great horses. After that, there is a lot of talk of the big one in November – The Breeders’ Cup Classic. Justify is 2/1 (Bet365) for that one, with free bets also available from Thebookiesoffers. Should he win, his legacy would be put into the stratosphere. Put simply, the next few months could decide if Justify is a great horse, or one of the all-time great horses.

The Everest Continues to Fight for Its Place at the Top Table

The natural order of things in racing was upended in 2017 with the creation of the Pegasus World Cup (run in Florida each January) and The Everest, which is the feature race of the Sydney Spring Carnival in October. These ‘artificially’ created races have the biggest prize pools in world racing, with The Everest being the world’s richest turf race (around $10,000,000 is on offer). Redzel won the inaugural event last year and is available at odds of 5/1 (Bet365) to win the second Everest. The question, though, is can the race start creating its own sense of history? Or will it be put down as a money-spinning gimmick that does not stand the test of time? Hopefully, it’s the former.

Can Walsh Return to Reclaim his Crown

Interest in national hunt racing can sometimes be confined to the UK and Ireland, but Ruby Walsh’s reputation as a legendary jockey crosses all borders. He broke his leg towards the end of the last year, only to break the same leg in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival in March. That was supposed to be the scene of a triumphant return, but it all went wrong after a bad fall in the RSA Novice Chase. Rather than rushing back, Walsh has decided to wait for the start of the new national hunt season (early autumn). Can he use his celebrated partnership with Irish trainer Willie Mullins to vault right back to the top? A fitting scene might be the King George VI Chase in December, with another injury-ravaged hero, Douvan, mentioned among Walsh’s potential rides. 12/1 for Walsh and Douvan to win the first massive national hunt race of the season looks generous.